Culture: Ancient Greece Essay

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Culture is the general expression of humanity, the expression of its creativity. Culture is linked to meaning, knowledge, talents, industries, civilization and values. Art and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity – the meaning, value, and character—of the physical and social form of a community. Overtime, each city, each era develops its own meaning, reflecting the spectrum of social values within and around the community. Culture-creativity relationship was established on Earth since human inhabited. For instance, the Sumerian inhabited the Southern portion of Mesopotamia (32, Sayre). Life in the cities of Sumerians was focused on gods, the religion of the Sumerians was polytheistic, consisting of multiple gods and goddess connected to the force of nature (34). Therefore, many statues were produced to worship these gods characters. For example, the Dedicatory Statues (33) was found in the Abu Temple. These statues are of various sizes, and usually carved in gypsum or limestone. They depict men wearing fringed or tufted fleece skirts with inlaid eyes and painted hair. The wide-eyed appearances of these statues were meant to suggest they are gazing in perpetual awe at the deity (33). Moreover, the religious beliefs of the Sumerians also had a heavy influence on literature. For instance, the Epic of Gilamesh was about the adventure of Gilamesh: man, hero, king, god (46). However, there is a constant conflict in this epic, between the heroic values that the warrior-hero Gilgamesh represents and those other existential values that defined Sumerians culture and that appear in the Epic in the form of Gilgamesh’s several non-heroic identities (47-49). Basic to the Gilgamesh Epic is the issue of death. We witness the transformation of Gilgamesh’s heroic indifference to death into an all-consuming knowledge of his mortality and dread of death due to his friend, Enkidu, death. It also spoke for the Sumerian society, they are struggling to face their fate, and refused to acknowledge that one day they must face the death.
While the Meridians’ culture was influenced heavily by their religious, the Archaic Greek’s society valued individual action over collective action. The first example of showing the importance of individual would be the Olympia and the Olympic Games. The first Olympics Games were seen as the beginning of the Greek history. The Olympic was a bright example of individualism because it only had events of solo performance like dashing, tracking, boxing and the pentathlon (116, Sayre). There were no “team” game in these Olympics, and there was only one winner of every contest. There was no second place or third place. The Olympics defined the Greek’s personality since the people believed in “agonizesthai” which means to contend for the prize (116). People were driven by competition. In every professions, people compared their works to others and it greatly helped developing Greek’s culture and knowledge. The second example is the male sculpture. Greek athletes, whom competed in Olympics and played a great role in Greek society, performed with no clothes on. Therefore, they gave a rise to a “cult of the body.” Greek was obsessed with fitness since it portrayed the wealth and strength of society. The male body was portrayed through the kouros (117). The Greek artists tried to represent the human body as real as possible due to the spirit of competition that was so dominant in Greek society. The last example is the portraying of gods and goddess in literature and art. In Homer’s Iliad, the Greek gods were portrayed like human (110). Zeus, the leader of all gods, was an adulterer just like many man. His wife, Hera, was constantly kept him in check. Their children were constantly competing to have their parents’ attention. It was just like watching an NBC family sitcom! The Greek gods were portrayed as human except they were immortality. They were malleable, hot headed, indecisive, and